Researchers at the
The only drug currently approved for the treatment of acute stroke--recombinant tissue plasminogen activator, or t-PA--is administered intravenously to patients after the first symptoms of ischemic stroke appear. The protein in the drug dissolves blood clots that cause strokes and other cardiovascular problems, like pulmonary embolisms and heart attacks.
"Our technology uses magnetic nanorods that, when injected into the bloodstream and activated with rotating magnets, act like stirring bars to drive t-PA to the site of the clot," said
By collaborating with their medical partners, the researchers tested their approach in mice that mimic blood clots in humans. Once a clot was formed, they injected a mixture of t-PA and a small number of magnetic nanorods only 300 nanometers in diameter. By way of comparison, a single human hair is about 80,000 to 100,000 nanometers wide.
Upon entering the bloodstream, the nanorods are activated by two revolving magnets, which make the specially designed particles rotate not unlike a series of small fans, pushing the drug to the site of the clot.
Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide, according to the
"We're dealing with a huge population of patients who desperately need new treatments," said Leidong Mao, paper co-author and associate professor in
One of the most significant risks of t-PA treatment is uncontrolled bleeding. While the drug may successfully dissolve dangerous clots, it also temporarily prevents the formation of clots throughout the body, making patients vulnerable to hemorrhage.
"We want to improve the efficiency of this drug, because too much of it can lead to serious bleeding problems," said
The research team plans to continue its investigation using nanorods made of new materials that are more compatible with the human body, but they caution that these results are preliminary, and more research must be done to perfect the technique.
"We also want to develop a chemistry model to illustrate the relationship between clot dissolving speed and other experimental parameters," said
"With further development, we think this could be an important step to better treatment of clots in small blood vessels," Zhao said. "Our team is already working on new approaches to take this proven concept further."
Other authors on the paper include
For a full version of the paper in ACS Nano, see http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/nn5029955.
TNS 30TagarumaMar-140717-4798934 30TagarumaMar
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